The parliamentary committee chaired by Keith Vaz is due to meet on Tuesday for the first time since a newspaper reported that the Labour MP had paid for the services of male prostitutes, although it remains unclear whether he will lead the session.
The home affairs select committee is due to question the immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, from 3.30pm. When the story initially broke, Vaz said he would stand aside as chair, but a later statement made no mention of this.
On Monday, Theresa May increased the pressure on Vaz by calling for MPs to maintain the public’s confidence or consider their positions.
Speaking at the G20 summit in China, the prime minister said: “What has been clear throughout my political career and what is important for people is that they feel they are able to have confidence in their politicians, and that is what we have a duty to apply for those who elect us.
“What Keith does is for Keith and any decisions he wishes to make are for him. But overall what people want is confidence in their politicians.”
She spoke out after the Sunday Mirror reported that Vaz had paid for the services of male prostitutes and had asked one of them to bring along poppers, a sex-enhancing drug that the government came close to banning in a law passed this year.
Vaz has apologised to his family but condemned the tactics of the newspaper reporters.
On Monday, he returned to the House of Commons chamber to take part in questions to the home secretary, Amber Rudd. He welcomed her to her role and asked about terror suspects who had fled Britain to join Islamic State while on police bail. He made no mention of the newspaper reports.
Vaz is said to be still considering whether to stand down permanently or temporarily from his committee role. It is investigating prostitution and has often produced reports on legal and illegal recreational drugs.
The MP for Leicester East could face investigation by the commissioner for standards over the claims in the Sunday Mirror. It was alleged that he met eastern European male sex workers in a flat he owns in north London. According to the paper, Vaz asked one of the men in a text message sent before the encounter to bring poppers.
Vaz has argued in parliament that poppers should not be included in a list of substances banned by the Psychoactive Substances Act, and in the paper he is quoted as telling the escorts that he did not use them himself.
Vaz reportedly told the men his name was Jim and that he was a washing machine salesman. He is quoted discussing with the men the possibility of obtaining cocaine for the next time they met, although Vaz reportedly said he would not want to take the drug himself.
Following claims by Vaz’s friends that the MP may have been drugged during the sting, the Daily Mirror released new details on Monday night of the alleged encounter, which the paper claims was the second meeting between Vaz and the two male sex workers. It included a transcript of Vaz allegedly ordering them to take up sexual positions. The Mirror claims it is proof that he was in control of the situation.